After euphoria, back to reality for England

Southgate proved popular with England’s fans for helping create a renewed sense of optimism

Croatia can cause a massive upset but France are favorites as Moscow basked in sweltering summer sun and the world's spotlight on the big day of the World Cup final.

They have had to deal with accusations of uninspired tactics but coach Didier Deschamps has shrugged off the criticism and told his players to be calm, confidence and to concentrate.

"The Croatians want the star [representing World Cup wins on their shirt]".

Southgate suggested Phil Jones, who played both games against Belgium in Russian Federation, had a long-term future within the set-up but suggested Gary Cahill, at 32, may play less of a role after an worldwide career that has spanned eight years, four permanent managers and 61 caps. "It's made us resilient as people, as the nation".

There's actually still two games to go so it would seem a shame not to predict both.

After plumping for promise over experience this summer, the callow Three Lions ripped up the script in Russian Federation to reach the semi-finals for the first time in 28 years.

"The first half was not good for us".

All the players trained yesterday and want to play. There are great opportunities for us to develop, to improve, to. look at players.

"He brought us calmness, he perked us up and what we most like is his sincerity and his attitude towards each and every player".

Karen Dench, 28, who works at the airport and lives just across the road, said: "I think it is disgraceful, they should have had a better celebration it is the best performance we've had in 28 years".

Our taxi driver tells me, it's that past which has given this team a mental strength which surpasses other world teams and has seen them become the lowest ranked team to ever make a FIFA World Cup final.

"We are in the World Cup final. We have one more game left, and we have never been more motivated".

Umititi though chose to laud Paul's leadership skills instead and recognised how he's developed within the World Cup games itself.

Ellena said: "I thought they were brilliant and it's really sad that we don get to celebrate, the team has impressed everyone so much it's such a sad way to welcome them home".

"I think it would be wrong to judge any player on today's game if their energy levels were short".

England have won only one of the previous 21 World Cup games in which they've conceded the first goal; that was the 1966 final against Germany.

In a rare recent interview he said: "I never relax because if you relax in football your level drops and it can be hard to get back into it".

"We are a team in transition. We like having him around, he's shown his influence, not just as a coach but more importantly as a human being".

"We can only be happy and proud that despite the crisis, Croatians have put aside the problems and the hardship", said Dalic.

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